Kuoni says dual-branded travel agencies could become a “significant” part of its business after a strong response from independents interested in signing up to the scheme.
The tour operator is in talks with three more companies, including a miniple, to set up dual-branded agencies after the first shop, World Market Travel in Bath, had its launch party last week.
Kuoni distribution and operations vice-president Derek Jones said: “A lot of agents have approached us to grow their business. These are difficult times and people are looking for opporutnities to do something differently .
“We wanted to dip our toe in the water to build the model and we have been really pleased with the response. The signs are very positive and we can see this becoming quite significant.”
Each shop is considered separately and there is no “one size fits all” policy, he said.
Shops are being chosen in locations where the operator does not have high-street shops and at least five are being targeted initially.
Bath-based World Market Travel, a Worldchoice member, has been refurbished and has a new fascia with its name and Kuoni’s over the door. Kuoni has paid for about half of the refurbishment and set a target for the agency to take more than £1 million worth of Kuoni sales within three years. Currently Kuoni holidays make up 20% of sales.
World Market Travel celebrated the refit and its 30th anniversary with a party at Bath’s The Roman Baths.
Tim Giles, World Market Travel joint partner, said: “We are in the early stages of our relationship with Kuoni but already we are seeing benefits such as special exclusive offers and the ability to match the [recent] 10% online discount. We remain convinced the decision to work with Kuoni was right; now we have to push hard to take the benefits.”
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